A company that doesn’t have its own laser cutting machine subcontracts the work to one or several job shops with laser cutting capability. This scenario doesn’t involve many risks and can work if you have some flexibility with lead times. How do you go about hiring the ideal expert laser services professional to work on your project? First, it helps to understand what metal laser cutting is and how it may be useful.
What Is Metal Laser Cutting?
Manufacturers utilize lasers for many purposes. One use is for cutting metal plates.
The laser beam is a column of extremely high-intensity light of a single wavelength or color. The focused laser beam goes through the nozzle’s bore right before it hits the metal plate. Flowing through that same nozzle bore is a compressed gas, such as nitrogen or oxygen.
Focusing the laser beam can be done with a unique lens or by a curved mirror. This takes place in the laser’s cutting head. The beam has to be precisely focused. The shape of the laser’s focus spot and the energy density in that spot must be perfectly round and consistent. It’s also imperative that it be centered in the nozzle.
When focusing the large laser beam down to a single pinpoint, the heat density at that minuscule point is extreme. It’s much the same as using a magnifying glass and the sun’s beams to start a small fire.
This high-power density results in rapid heating, melting, and partial or complete vaporizing of the metal. When cutting mild steel, the laser beam’s heat is enough to start a typical “oxy-fuel” burning process.
The laser-cutting gas will be pure oxygen, just like an oxy-fuel torch. If cutting aluminum or stainless steel, the laser’s beam melts the metal, and high-pressure nitrogen is then used to blow the molten metal out of the kerf.
Which Metals Can Be Laser Cut?
You can cut various metals with expert laser services companies. These include:
- Solder foil
- Spring steel
- Stainless steel
What Can A Laser Cutter Produce?
Laser cutting can trim down a metal or cut it into complex shapes that more conventional cutting techniques would struggle to cut.
In addition to cutting, laser cutters also raster or etch designs onto workpieces by heating the workpiece’s surface, boring the material’s top layer to change its appearance.
Laser cutters are known to be handy tools when it comes to prototyping and manufacturing. They are used to create affordable, quick prototypes.
Advantages Of Laser Cutting Metals
The metal laser cutting process is highly accurate, yields excellent cut quality results in a minimal kerf width, have a small heat affect zone, and makes it possible to cut very intricate shapes and small holes.
A laser’s significant feature/benefit is concentrating high energy on a minimal area. When this happens, a given metal in its path will burn, melt, weld, cut, or vaporize. With machine technology, mainly CNC (computer numerical control), laser job shops and manufacturing centers can offer machines that can cut or engrave everything from large steel sheets to delicate aluminum foils.
Hiring An Expert Laser Services Professional
Every material has its limits and feature benefits when laser cutting is involved. Despite many a comic book villain’s powers, a laser cannot cut through anything. In particular, extra-thick metals. That’s because every material requires a specific amount of energy.